The start of a new school year is often bittersweet, as students are happily reunited with friends but brutally separated from summer’s vacation from work and worry.
Students at Front Range Christian School acted out this dichotomy Aug. 29, reveling in the fourth annual Front Range Christian School Town Fair while pausing to wield a sledgehammer to vent a little frustration on a hapless automobile.
This year’s event not only celebrated the end of summer and the start of another school year, it was paired with two football scrimmages — between Front Range Christian and Denver Christian, and between Columbine and Wiggins high schools.
The games were accompanied by classic carnival experiences like live music, a dunk tank, a water slide and bounce castles. Mix in copious amounts of hot dogs and hamburgers, and it was a full-on carnival.
Gary Fisher, the school's athletic director, said the event has grown each year, but this year's version put an emphasis on getting the entire community involved.
"This is to kick off the first part of the school year and welcome people back to school," he said. "It's about letting them have a good time."
Tickets were sold, with the money benefiting different parts of the school like the golf team or football team.
"This year, it's a lot bigger," said Greg Foster, a Front Range Christian parent who was there to support his son during the football scrimmage. Afterward, Foster made his way around the event and eventually found himself staring at the people lining up to smash an old car with a sledgehammer. Over the periodic auditory assault generated by hammer on metal, Foster summed up the spirit of the event.
"It's really a celebration, a way for everyone to rejoice coming back to school," Foster said.
Hopefully the event will continue to grow, Foster said.
"Eventually, we want it to be like a 'Taste of Littleton' or something," Foster said, referring to the popular Denver tradition A Taste of Colorado.
Eating a hamburger and staring at two people battling each other with heavily padded pugil sticks in a large, inflated ring, Front Range sophomore Sam Duke gave the fair his approval.
"I think it's fun," he said. Duke said he especially liked teaming the football scrimmages with the fair — not surprising, considering he's a tight end and defensive end on the football team. But when asked if he agreed with the overall theme of celebrating the return to school, Duke paused.
"I'm happy to see the people at school, and really excited for football and basketball," Duke said. "But it means no more sleeping in and all of that."
Chelsea Peterson, a Front Range Christian sophomore, agreed with Duke.
"I do think it's a good way to get people to know what our school is all about and to raise money for the school in a fun way," Peterson said. "But I'm not exactly really excited to come back to school. I guess it's nice in a way: I enjoy my classes and the other kids."